Criminal Justice System in India | Complete Procedure

Criminal Justice System in India is very lengthy. Almost every criminal trial takes three to four years.

criminal Justice system in India

Criminal Justice System in India 

Indian Criminal Justice System has many stages to execute the final punishment awarded to any accused. These following stages are as follows :- 

Filing of FIR 

The criminal trial procedure in India commences with the filing of a First Information Report (FIR) at a police station.

This formal document serves as the foundation for subsequent legal proceedings, outlining the details of an alleged criminal offense.

Police Investigation

Upon the filing of an FIR, the police initiate an investigation. This phase involves collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and gathering information to build a robust case against the accused.

The quality of the investigation plays a crucial role in the subsequent stages of the trial.

Arrest or Summons

Based on the evidence gathered, the police may choose to arrest the accused. Alternatively, a summons may be issued, requiring the accused to appear in court at a specified time.

This step depends on the nature and severity of the alleged offense. Supreme Court has already issued Guidelines on Police Arrest to avoid harassments.  

Production before Magistrate

Within 24 hours of arrest (excluding travel time), the accused must be produced before a magistrate.

This ensures a swift judicial review of the arrest and sets the stage for further legal proceedings.

Application for Bail

Once police produce the accuse before Magistrate, the accused can apply for Bail. Accused can also apply for Anticipatory Bail before arrest. 

If he want anticipatory bail, he should apply first before Session Judge and then after before Concerned High Court.

Framing of Charges by Judge 

At the magistrate’s court, the charges against the accused are read, and the accused is informed of the allegations. It is crucial for the accused to understand the charges.

If there is enough evidence, the charges are framed, signaling the formal beginning of the trial.

Recording of Evidence during Criminal Trial 

The trial involves the examination of witnesses by both the prosecution and the defense.

Witnesses present their testimonies, and evidence is submitted to support or challenge the charges.

Cross-examination is a critical aspect, testing the credibility and reliability of witness statements.

Examination of Accused

The accused has the right to be examined and may provide their defense during the trial.

This phase allows the accused to present evidence and arguments in their favor, contributing to the overall fairness of the legal process.

Final Arguments

Following the examination of witnesses and evidence, both the prosecution and defense present their final arguments.

This stage allows for a comprehensive summary of the case, highlighting key legal points and evidence supporting their respective positions.


The court delivers its judgment based on the evidence, arguments, and legal principles.

This pivotal moment determines the guilt or innocence of the accused. If convicted, the court proceeds to the sentencing phase.


After a conviction, the court determines the appropriate punishment or penalty. Sentencing takes into account factors such as the nature of the offense, aggravating or mitigating circumstances, and any applicable legal provisions.

Filing of Criminal Appeal

Both the convicted party and the prosecution have the right to appeal an unfavorable judgment.

The appellate process involves a thorough review of legal and factual aspects, providing an opportunity to rectify errors made during the trial.

It’s important to note that the criminal trial procedure is subject to variations based on the jurisdiction, nature of the offense, and specific circumstances of each case.

Staying informed about legal developments and consulting legal professionals ensures accurate understanding and application of the criminal trial procedure in India.

After Dismissal of Criminal Appeal by High Court, an Accused has right to file Criminal Appeal before Supreme Court.